Monday, 10 March 2014

Liberal Democrats to support more powers for Cornwall?

It is my understanding that, at their Spring Conference in York (8th March), Liberal Democrats voted to devolve powers to Cornwall.

Their press release states that:

“It is now Liberal Democrat party policy to introduce a ‘Devolution Enabling Act whereby legislative devolution is available to Cornwall (recognising its historical, cultural and linguistic claim to autonomy).’

“It would allow Cornwall to demand and negotiate a package of law-making powers that would be transferred from Westminster to Cornwall. A Devolution Enabling Act would also allow London and other areas in England with a population of a million people or more to bid for their own law-making assembly if they wanted to.”

This is an interesting development, though the Liberal Democrats have been here before.

The Lib Dems contested the 2005 General Election and Cornwall County Council elections with a Cornish Manifesto, which included a commitment to a Cornish Assembly. And upon winning control of Cornwall County Council that year, they published a list of priorities that included a pledge to “establish detailed plans for a Cornish Assembly” within their first year of office. The Lib Dems did not take this pledge forward and instead pushed through the centralisation of local government in Cornwall.

Mebyon Kernow will be putting pressure on the Liberal Democrats on this issue in the coming weeks and calling on them to fully back MK’s campaign for a National Assembly for Cornwall, with powers broadly equivalent to the Scottish Parliament.

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